Reader Wayne Pearson submitted these thoughts on coins and paper money to mark the 2026 semiquincentennial of U.S. independence. Thanks. I'm sure the Mint will get commemorative coin designs rolling soon if they haven't already. Commemorative banknotes have not been a thing in the U.S., mostly due to the long lead time needed for security measures. Worth thinking about, though.
I want to share a few ideas with your readers. To start with, new coins and paper money for the semiquincentennial. We need to get the ball rolling now. For the six coins I enclosed designs I would really like to see.
The dime and quarter are based on non-circulating commemoratives.
The dollar is based on the Wheat cent and the tablet the Statue of Liberty is carrying.
The half dollar is a heptagon shape so we could make them 27.5 mm like the U.K. so the vending machine industry could accept them.
Here is the idea for paper money. There will be 13 different $1.00 bills.
Here's how it would work.
In addition to the regular issue dollar, there would be 12 designs one per month with one of the 12 federal reserve district banks letter and number.
For example, the first bill will be issued in January to be issued to all 12 banks (and branches). January will be A 1.
Each of the fed banks will issue it. In February, the second design would be issued with a B 2, and so on until December when the L-12 San Francisco.
And so there is no counterfeiting going on with people trying to slip in their own novelty versions, the real bills need 3 implementations. 1st, micro printing. 2nd a watermark, and 3rd, the 1990's plastic strip.
I am also toying with a Harriet Tubman $25.
I also am working on a seven year program for our coins introducing designs of Liberty in addition to the six principals.
For example, year one would have the Lincoln cent using the 1952 James Fraser design with liberty designs on the other coins.
Years two the Washington Quarter plus liberty designs on the other coins. Years 3,4,5 and 6 Jefferson, FDR, JFK and Sacagawea.
Years 7 all 6 principals would be together. Year 8 would start the program over with Lincoln.
Many liberty designs that have been overlooked are the designs I'd like to see.
But for now I want to share my 2026 ideas.
It's never too early to start preparing to commemorate a major anniversary. I doubt any paper money changes would fly, but perhaps we could get an upgrade to one of them. Coins seem more ripe for change. What do readers think? What does the Mint already have in mind, if anything?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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